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  1. #1
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    Default 2013 study on adverse impact of neutering on health of dogs

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%...l.pone.0055937

    free full-text article.

    http://www.borzoicentral.com/pdf/neu...connection.pdf

    older one disputing that there is any solid evidence that spaying prevents mammary cancer

    older classic that's been floating around for a while, summarizing the evidence:

    http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongT...uterInDogs.pdf
    Last edited by wendy; Apr. 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM.


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  2. #2
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    As hip issue seems to be very inherited and dog bloodlines may be more localized and less international than horse or cattle, how do they rule that out as a factor as opposed to the neutering? Maybe it is a sign we have more poorly bred dogs and puppy mills here? (I am not a scientist so i assume I am missing something.)


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  3. #3
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    they didn't compare across countries- they took vet records from UCDavis of 759 golden retrievers. Since it's all one location, presumably the neutered and non-neutered dogs shared common bloodlines and reasonably similar environments.


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  4. #4
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    Oh--I misunderstood and got going in the wrong direction as they started out comparing neutering rates in the USA verses Europe-i made a blind leap from there. :-)



  5. #5
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    Random idle curiousness....

    I wonder what the general stats are for unwanted litters and if they track such a thing.

    Granted, besides the health benefits of spaying/neutering that we've all heard all along (but these reports are refuting as being not really beneficial to male dogs anyway), I'd figure that the primary reason why people spay/neuter their pets is to prevent unwanted breedings and/or the behaviors associated with reproductive-capable animals.

    Do we not flip that coin for our animals as pet owners anyway?


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  6. #6
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    Ask around- many pet owners neuter their dogs because they believe it improves their health, because that's what they are told. Go to http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/spayne...r-top-ten.aspx and see their "top two" reasons for neutering are to improve the health of your dogs, which we have known for years it does not. My co-worker just about lost it this morning when I showed her the study above- she neutered her male dog at age 4 months SOLELY because her vet told her it would dramatically reduce his risk of dying from cancer (she lost her last, neutered male dog to cancer at a young age). So people are being flat-out lied to.

    it's really quite easy to prevent your dog from breeding without having to surgically sterilize it. Any responsible pet owner doesn't let their dog wander around unsupervised, and that's pretty much all it takes to prevent unwanted breeding. A bit more care must be taken when the bitch is in season, obviously, but it's not hard. There are other surgical methods that could be used to sterilize animals that are not as harmful as spaying and neutering- vasectomies, for example, or hysterectomies that leave the ovaries behind.

    In order to make a proper decision, you need to know the truth.

    Right now, if you try to adopt a pet from pretty much any rescue, shelter, or pound, they will force you to have the animal spayed or neutered, regardless of the age of the animal, with no regard to how much damage such polices have on the health of the poor animals. Some places are neutering 8 week old babies, dooming many of them to lifelong ill health and shortened lives.

    First, do no harm is the underlying premise of medical ethics. Neutering, particularly of immature animals, is clearly harmful. An alternative must be sought.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%...l.pone.0055937

    free full-text article.

    http://www.borzoicentral.com/pdf/neu...connection.pdf

    older one disputing that there is any solid evidence that spaying prevents mammary cancer

    older classic that's been floating around for a while, summarizing the evidence:

    http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongT...uterInDogs.pdf
    The first paper shows a small increase in percentage in some problems/ diseases in one breed.

    The second paper doesn't show that there is any evidence that spaying doesn't decrease the risk of mammary cancer either. Just that the studies done previously supposedly do not decisively show that.


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  8. #8
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    Wait...they used Golden Retrievers as their study group? Those poor dogs have so many inheritable health issues that spaying or neutering have no bearing on to begin with! That makes this study much less credible to me. Had they used shelter mutts I'd pay more attention.

    Just my opinion.
    "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique


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  9. #9
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    I wonder, Wendy, if there are any statistics on unwanted animals in Europe. Are they more responsible than we are here in the U.S.?

    Maybe you live in a part of the country where responsible ownership is the rule, not the exception. I don't.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


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  10. #10
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    check the references in the study and read the 2007 summary- they've studied other breeds and yes, even mutts.

    another thing not brought out in these studies- I have two papers, one where they spayed some lab beagles and measured metabolic rate before and after spaying. It dropped an astonishing 30% post-spay. The other study, they neutered some adult working dogs (military), and reported that post-neuter the dogs needed twice as much exercise to remain at a healthy weight. So they've been lying to you again about neutering- it really does make your pet fat, or at least it makes it much more difficult for anyone to keep their pet from getting fat. Have you noticed we have an epidemic of obese pets, possibly linked to the heavy spay/neuter propaganda? and obesity causes all kinds of health issues.

    Maybe you live in a part of the country where responsible ownership is the rule, not the exception. I don't.
    irresponsible owners don't usually neuter their pets anyway, so they don't really have any role in this discussion. The responsible ones are the ones that tend to neuter, usually on the basis of incorrect information about the health of intact dogs vs. neutered dogs, or just because they feel it's the "responsible thing to do". These are the people who need to be given the real information, so they can make the proper responsible decision for their pets.
    Last edited by wendy; Apr. 15, 2013 at 03:35 PM.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    they didn't compare across countries- they took vet records from UCDavis of 759 golden retrievers. Since it's all one location, presumably the neutered and non-neutered dogs shared common bloodlines and reasonably similar environments.
    Except you posted this tidbit in regards to the 2013 study. That makes a difference.

    As for your assertion ALL responsible pet owners should have no problem keeping their intact pet where they won't produce unwanted liters? That's pretty bold and ignorant. Fences blow down, dogs ignore invisible barriers, some dogs can dig, other dogs may be on the loose, criminals break into homes/yards and let fido out...

    Responsible owners will do everything they can to minimize their pet escaping, intact or not. But truly responsible owners also realize shit happens sometimes and you can't control it all. To say otherwise is like saying the Titanic had zero chance of hitting an iceberg and sinking.

    Coming from one who HAS had dogs let out by a meter reader (Lhasa and Maltese, my childhood dogs), and whose highly trained cattle dogs (one is a GSD/ACD mix, one a Catahoula/ACD mix)dogs (adult life) are firmly and safely kept in the yard by an 8' privacy fence.
    "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique


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  12. #12
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    OP (Wendy), I have posted links to this and other studies that have demonstrated some adverse consequences to S/N on a couple of other COTH threads, and have been similarly critized/flamed, accused of "ranting about the evils of s/n" etc. By contrast, many in my breed club have been most receptive of and capable of thoughtful critical thought about these studies. I find some on the COTH boards have very closed minds about this issue, they have made up their minds years ago and that is that! No consideration of commonly accepted European views or practices, or consideration that different breeds may have different risks and so responsible owners may make different decisions based upon what is best for their particular animal.

    Nevertheless, I thank you for your attempt to expose people to studies that may contradict dearly held beliefs.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post

    it's really quite easy to prevent your dog from breeding without having to surgically sterilize it. Any responsible pet owner doesn't let their dog wander around unsupervised, and that's pretty much all it takes to prevent unwanted breeding. A bit more care must be taken when the bitch is in season, obviously, but it's not hard.
    And yet the "responsible owners" second most common argument against mandatory s/n legislation in California wasn't health, it was "but what if my prize show dog gets out of the yard accidentally and is picked up by animal control and then make me s/n!" Doesn't sound very responsible. The first most common argument was "you can't tell me what to do with my things".

    When I was in London I noted that every dog walking around had testicles. They were also all 100% on leash, walking obediently by their owners' sides. Sadly, that's not what you see in the States.

    I guess the question is, do we want to continue and expand the absolute known harm of overabundance of unwanted puppies and kittens here in the states? Or do we sacrifice them for the possibility of the small percentage increases shown in these small studies?


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houndhill View Post
    OP (Wendy), I have posted links to this and other studies that have demonstrated some adverse consequences to S/N on a couple of other COTH threads, and have been similarly critized/flamed, accused of "ranting about the evils of s/n" etc. By contrast, many in my breed club have been most receptive of and capable of thoughtful critical thought about these studies. I find some on the COTH boards have very closed minds about this issue, they have made up their minds years ago and that is that! No consideration of commonly accepted European views or practices, or consideration that different breeds may have different risks and so responsible owners may make different decisions based upon what is best for their particular animal.

    Nevertheless, I thank you for your attempt to expose people to studies that may contradict dearly held beliefs.
    I do think that part of it is what type of dog you have. If I had 10 lb. dogs, I'd probably have them neutered at 6 months of age. As it is, I have dogs that are larger and I am more worried about joint issues and things like bone cancer (which I have unfortunately had in one of my own dogs), and that has moved me to look at these studies awfully carefully. I used to believe that responsible pet owners had their pets altered at 6 months unless they were showing conformation, but when you have a large breed and you read studies like this it does change things.
    I have to say that even I was saddened by this study. I have a male that I've let mature unneutered. Eventually, I plan on getting a female puppy - so I wanted to go ahead and neuter my male and then spay the female at about a year. With females, spaying seems to be a bit more beneficial, health-wise. Now I am left to ponder what to do. Any ideas?
    I must say that while anything can happen, whether or not you can prevent accidental breedings largely depends on how you manage your dogs. I wouldn't have an intact animal in all circumstances. With the new health concerns, I do wonder about switching to vasectomies instead of neuters. Anyone know?



  15. #15
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    Sad thing is, many intact pets are owned by irresponsible owners. This creates full shelters. I can understand why shelters impose a spay/neuter policy.


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  16. #16
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    I have had multiple intact Irish Wolfhounds and have never had an accidental breeding in forty years.


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  17. #17
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    I understand it is a different situation when animal shelter adopt out animals to inexperienced owners who are actually not terribly responsible, in this country. In that case, the chance of unwanted litters outweighs the particlar health benefits to the particular animal. Sadly.


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  18. #18
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    You sometimes have to do what is practical for a population, or adopt out animals to less than optimal situations which are nevertheless better than euthanasia.

    However, if you have the luxury of deciding things on the basis of what is best for a particular animal, your decision as to s/n can be based upon this, rather than upon population matters.


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  19. #19
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    Sadly, US pet owners seem much less responsible than many Western European/UK /Scandinavian pet owners, who seem to be quite capable of managing intact dogs, to the extent that they may consider it quite odd or less than optimal to s/n for other than health reasons....and even then,spare ovaries when possible, which is something I would try to do as well if I had to hysterectomize for health reasons.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casey09 View Post
    I do think that part of it is what type of dog you have. If I had 10 lb. dogs, I'd probably have them neutered at 6 months of age. As it is, I have dogs that are larger and I am more worried about joint issues and things like bone cancer (which I have unfortunately had in one of my own dogs), and that has moved me to look at these studies awfully carefully. I used to believe that responsible pet owners had their pets altered at 6 months unless they were showing conformation, but when you have a large breed and you read studies like this it does change things.
    I have to say that even I was saddened by this study. I have a male that I've let mature unneutered. Eventually, I plan on getting a female puppy - so I wanted to go ahead and neuter my male and then spay the female at about a year. With females, spaying seems to be a bit more beneficial, health-wise. Now I am left to ponder what to do. Any ideas?
    I must say that while anything can happen, whether or not you can prevent accidental breedings largely depends on how you manage your dogs. I wouldn't have an intact animal in all circumstances. With the new health concerns, I do wonder about switching to vasectomies instead of neuters. Anyone know?
    Read the studies. The benefits of not spaying or neutering after one year or two (for large breeds) is really quite small.

    You did read the Shade thread, right? A quarter of bitches will develop a pyometra by the age of 10, and then there's a HIGH rate of recurrence.

    To everyone else:

    If you get your dog neutered and don't want it to get fat, don't feed it too much. Don't feed the dog free choice. Entire dogs can get MASSIVELY fat too, btw. You should have seen my husband's beagle!

    I'm sure someone will accuse me of being some sort of neutering fanatic, but that's not the case. My family had entire females for a total of 18-19 years, and it was a PITA. Since I've never owned show dogs, I'd never have any interest in keeping a dog entire most of its life. Our Cairn Terrier always got false pregnancies after her heat cycles, where she would collect all of toys in her bed and then cry over them when they wouldn't nurse. She was spayed at 9 1/2 years per our vet's advice. Our JRT had one short heat cycle, followed one month later by a real heat, then a false pregnancy with milk, then mastitis (back then vets didn't spay when a dog was in heat or had milk). She was really sick with the mastitis for a couple of days. Needless to say she was spayed after that!

    Pounds are full of entire dogs. Guess why they're there. Even responsible dog owners have a hard time keeping their dogs contained and accounted for all of the time.


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